10 Tips for Healthy Dogs and Cats

1. Diet – Dogs and cats do NOT know what is good for them!

  • Like people, pets like what is bad for them, including eating too much. Avoid table scraps, bones and the snack trap.
  • Feed only high quality commercial good, labelled “complete”, “balanced”, or “fully nutritious.” Talk to your veterinarian about an appropriate diet for your pet.
  • Feed regularly; at least twice a day.
  • Dogs and cats need a great deal of water, especially in warm weather.
2. Grooming – Clean cats and dogs rarely have skin problems and pests.
  • Dogs should be brushed at least twice a week (also reduces shedding) and bathed once or twice a month.
  • Cats don’t need bathing. Brushing reduces shedding and hair balls.
3. Yearly Check-up – Annual checkups are as important for cats as for dogs.
  • Cats and dogs should be vaccinated regularly, especially for rabies since it is disease that can be transferred to humans.
  • Both cats and dogs need their teeth checked for tartar build up which causes gum disease.
  • Both cats and dogs should also be checked for parasites both external (fleas, tick, lice, ear mites) and internal (round worms, hookworms, tapeworms, etc.). Internal parasites can be found by brining in a fresh fecal sample. 
4. Spaying and Neutering – 13 million stray or unwanted dogs and cats are euthanized each year.
  • About 17 million dogs and cats are put in pounds each year, which is about 22% of all urban dogs and cats.
  • Neutering greatly reduces all reproductive organ disease and cancers, for example, 90% reduction in dog mammary tumours. 
5. Signs of Trouble – The following signs mean your pet should be seen by your veterinarian”
  • Eye or nose discharge (squinting, discoloured discharge like green or yellow, etc.)
  • Persistent coughing
  • Persistent vomiting
  • Persistent constipation or diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite
  • Listlessness (lethargic), tiredness
6. Stable Routine and Environment – Dogs and cats thrive on familiarity and routine: this increases with age. Moves, a baby, a work change, or erratic care can upset your pet. Flags signalling problems:
  • Destructiveness
  • Accidents
  • Depression
  • Irritability
7. Leaving Your Pet – If you need to kennel your pet visit the boarding kennel and call references to find the best kennel for your pet’s temperament. Consider a pet sitter rather than kennelling or boarding your dog or cat. The pet left at home will not feel abandoned, and will do better in the familiar home. NEVER leave your pet in a closed car.
 
8. Regular Dental Care – Periodontal disease is the most common disease affecting both cats and dogs. Regular dental cleaning, brushing your pets teeth and special diets can all be helpful tools in the control of periodontal disease.
 
9. Tattooing, Permanent Identification – A sensible way to avoid losing your cat or dog. Tattooing is gaining popularity for obvious reasons, your veterinarian can do it, and it causes minimal discomfort. The tattoo is done inside the right ear and provides permanent identification that can result in getting your pet back.
 
10. Control Your Pet – A basic responsibility of pet ownership. Uncontrolled cats and dogs cause the following costs:
  • Increases pet health problems
  • Increased human health problems
  • Sanitation problems
  • Pet injuries and death (cars are a major cause of dog and cat deaths)
  • Dog bites (1 out of 200 people report bites a year and only ¼ to ½ of bitten people report)
  • Neighbourhood nuisance and destructiveness